How to Disable Apple TV Remote Support on Your MacBook Pro

If you have an Apple TV, the included remote can also be used to control various things on non-Retina MacBook Pros, such as iTunes. However, if you’re trying to navigate the menus on your Apple TV and your MacBook Pro is in front of you, chances are the remote control is messing with your MacBook Pro too. Here’s how to disable it.

The older non-Retina MacBook Pro comes with a built-in infrared sensor so users can remotely control iTunes and other media players using an Apple TV remote. This can be a useful feature for many reasons, but unless you’re using the remote for such purposes, it’s a good idea to disable the sensor on your MacBook Pro to avoid any accidental confusion.

I recently noticed that my wife’s MacBook Pro would randomly start playing music in iTunes. It took me a few times to realize that this would only happen when dealing with the Apple TV, and then I discovered that the Apple TV remote was also messing with my wife’s MacBook Pro. Fortunately, there is a way to disable your MacBook Pro’s infrared sensor so that an Apple TV remote doesn’t accidentally control it.


The steps to disable the sensor are very easy to do and only take 15 seconds, but since you have to dig a little deeper into the system, I will guide you through each step so you don’t get lost on the way. Preferences to find the settings we want.

It’s also important to note that only older non-Retina MacBook Pros have an infrared sensor; so if you have a newer Retina equipped MacBook Pro you don’t need to follow this tutorial as these models don’t have sensors.







That is all! You can now use your Apple TV remote on your MacBook Pro without worrying about accidentally opening iTunes. Of course, an even quicker solution is to cover the infrared sensor on your MacBook Pro with tape, but it doesn’t look that great and takes away the good looks of your laptop. Save the tape and disable it in System Preferences instead.

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Options for Retina MacBook Pros

Newer Retina-equipped MacBook Pros don’t have a built-in infrared sensor, so you don’t have to worry about disabling your Apple TV remote if you want to use it on your Apple TV and do nothing else, but whatever you do, use a remote control with your newer MacBook Pro. do you want?

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Still, there are options. The easiest solution is to use Apple’s Remote app Works with iPhone and iPad. It can control your MacBook Pro with WiFi connection provided both devices are connected to the same WiFi network. However, if you absolutely need physical buttons for a remote (and that’s totally understandable), then you’re not completely out of options.

You can still use an Apple TV remote on your Retina MacBook Pro, but that will take some extra hardware and some experimentation. A user was able to successfully check (with some errors) Retina MacBook Pro with an Apple remote, using a USB infrared receiver from the Microsoft Windows Media Center Remote, and then using software called Mira to play the MacBook and its receiver nicely with each other.

Of course, your mileage will vary when using third-party hardware, but it’s a fix you can try if you have a newer MacBook Pro.